Early start on 2017 car was huge benefit for Ferrari - Wolff

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Mercedes' Toto Wolff admits that Ferrari's early start on the design of its winning 2017 car provided the Scuderia with a head-start this season.

Sebastian Vettel conquered his third win of the season in Monaco where Mercedes was on the back foot at the outset.

The Silver Arrows W08 has struggled to keep up with Ferrari's fast and consistent SF70H, a state of affairs which Wolff partially justifies by  the Italian team kicking off its car's design process much earlier than Mercedes.

"To our knowledge, Ferrari started development of its car very early -- in December 2015. For us it was only March 2016," Wolff told Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

"By then, Ferrari already had more than 50 per cent of its resources on the new car," he added.

Vettel now  enjoys a 25-point lead over Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers' standings, a comfortable margin which may only increase if Mercedes fails to catch up with its rival's performance.

"Ferrari has perhaps a 16 week lead, and in that time you can find downforce worth four or five tenths," said Wolff.


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